India and Australia have produced some real classic ODI encounters in the past few decades. But when it comes to World Cups, Australia has had an overwhelming edge over India and has dominated them firmly.
Interestingly, despite their sharp decline in the past year, Australia went on to beat India 3-2 when they toured the country earlier this year. And now, with the return of Steve Smith and David Warner in their squad, they are stronger than ever. Australia will hence hold the aces against India in this mouth-watering clash at the Kennington Oval.
In captain Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and Marcus Stoinis along with David Warner and Steven Smith, Australia has a good and well-balanced batting unit. Steve Smith averages 50.75 against India in ODIs and would like to continue that dominance. Usman Khawaja was the highest scorer of the ODI series in India with 383 runs in 5 games. He knows the opposition bowlers well and will be an impact player. Glen Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis provide firepower in the lower middle-order and can take India’s slower bowlers on.
India has a strong team on paper as well, and the team management would bank on their top order – containing Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and captain Virat Kohli – to do the bulk of the scoring. India’s middle-order is an issue, and it remains to be seen how the likes Vijay Shankar or KL Rahul and MS Dhoni perform if the top-order fails. Hardik Pandya is in sensational hitting form and can provide a flourish at the end.
Kohli would be more confident of his bowling unit this time. Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best young fast bowlers in the world right now and he has strong support in Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav would also come into play if the pitch grips even a little. The part-time but extremely judicious spin bowling of Kedar Jadhav has surprised the Australians recently and Kohli may use him as a secret weapon.
Pitch Conditions and India vs Australia Prediction:
The pitch at Kennington Oval should be a belter, as most itches in England are these days. The highest team total batting first on this venue is 398-5 by New Zealand against England in 2015. The highest successful chase on this ground is 322-3 by Sri Lanka against India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017.
So it is a given that the pitch will heavily favor batsmen in this World Cup clash between India and Australia and the batting stars from both the sides would relish it. But given Australia’s recent form in ODIs and their overall balance, they hold a slight edge over India.